This test is completely painless and noninvasive. You will lie still on a table positioned between an X-ray generator below and a detector above. The detector will move slowly over your hip and spine. The test typically takes no more than 30 minutes.
Our radiologist will send your results to the doctor who ordered your test. If the results reveal that you have osteoporosis or are at risk for it, your doctor will recommend ways to improve your bone health and reduce your fracture risk.
A DEXA scan at Touchstone Medical Imaging requires minimal preparation. You can eat and drink normally leading up to the test, but if you use calcium supplements, you shouldn’t take them for 24 hours before the scan.
Dress in loose, comfortable clothes. Avoid belts or clothing that have zippers or metal buttons. Leave jewelry at home. If you wear glasses, you may need to remove them during the scan.
Tell your doctor and the imaging team ahead of time if you are pregnant or have recently had an imaging scan involving barium or contrast material. In these instances, your DEXA scan may be delayed or administered with extra safety precautions.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends bone density testing to help prevent fractures for:
– Women aged 65 or older
– Women aged 64 and younger who have reached menopause and have a higher risk of osteoporosis
In addition, ask your primary care doctor if a DEXA scan would be appropriate if you fall into one of the following categories:
– People who have had a fracture after age 50
– Men ages 50–69 who have osteoporosis risk factors
– Men aged 70 or older
Recommendations for testing frequency are determined by your risk factors and previous testing results. You may need one DEXA test initially and then you may not need another test for up to 15 years if you have healthy bone density. However, if your scan indicates you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may need DEXA scans more frequently. Your doctor can advise you on DEXA frequency.
DEXA scans are used to measure bone mineral density. This information can help us determine your likelihood for bone fractures and osteoporosis.
While a DEXA scan isn’t typically used to diagnose cancer, it can provide your care team with important information to help them determine whether additional testing is needed or if cancer has spread into your bones.
Once your bone density scan is complete, the results are detailed by two different scores:
T-Score is the difference between your bone density and that of an average healthy person. This score is used to determine your risk of breaking a bone.
Z-Score is the amount of bone you have compared to other people of the same age, race and gender. A score that is too high or too low may require more testing.